As I meditated this morning on Hebrews 11:23-29, the portion dealing with Moses, I was struck by the reoccurring theme of “not fear, but faith.” Verse 23 says, “By faith Moses,” but clearly refers not to the faith of Moses, but to his parents’ trust in God as they kept him “hidden for three months…because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” Their faith in God trumped their fear of the wrath of Pharaoh.
Verse 24 then speaks of Moses’ faith, who rejected earthly accolades, “when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,” but rather chose “to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” Again, fear of the wrath of man was overpowered by faith in the future, promised care of God.
Again, in verse 27, the theme of “not fear, but faith” is evidenced. “[N]ot fearing the wrath of the king” Moses “endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.” The same is true in the next two verses, when, surely, fear could have prevented his obedience to God. Instead Moses “kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood” (v. 28) and “passed through the Red Sea” (v. 29). As a result, he and his nation were delivered from the death sentence carried out by the Angel of Death and the deep waters of the sea.
Moses’ parents, and Moses himself, walked in obedience to God rather than being afraid of Pharaoh. They were motivated not by fear, but by faith. Yes, fear is a powerful motivator. But it is an inferior one. The greatest, most blessed, motivator for obedience to God is the heart’s trust in God to be God and do what He says He will do. Trust in God, which leads to faithful obedience to His Word, grows out of a growing love for God. The Apostle John made this vital connection clear when he wrote, “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).